If you are coming to the Townsend, TN area for a vacation, a trip into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must. And if you really want to learn all about the history of the region, then the best place to do so is by taking a tour of Cades Cove.

A First-Hand View

If you are looking for a first-hand experience of what it must have been like to live here “back in the day,” then you have only to go inside the park and visit Cades Cove. From long walks through the grassy valleys, hikes in the mountains, a chance to see some of the local wildlife, or a walk through the historic buildings, this is the place to be. You and your family can get a taste of what it was like to live here in the early days.

The Cades Cove Loop Road typically takes around 3 to 4 hours to drive, but if you go this fast, you might miss out on a lot. Most of those who come here tend to be here all day since there is so much to see and do.

Things You Might Not Know About Cades Cove

Many of the buildings on display here in Cades Cove have been moved here from elsewhere or were built here after the park opened. For example, the Gregg-Cable House was built out on Forge Creek Road in 1879 by Leason Gregg. Many of the buildings around the John P. Cable Mill have been moved from their original location.

Did you know that the Cades Cove area is the most popular spot in the entire park, bringing in 2 million visitors every year? They come for the hiking trails, the biking opportunities, the spectacular scenery, and the deep history the area has to share with everyone who visits here.

Just Like It Used to Look  

Perhaps the one thing that makes Cades Cove the perfect place to learn about the history of the area is the number of historic buildings and structures you get to see as you drive or walk along the route. There are churches, barns, a working grist mill that just got a new waterwheel, plenty of log houses, and many others to see. Make sure you pick up one of the Tour Guide Booklets at the entrance to the loop.

The guide can provide you with a vast amount of information on the various buildings, the park, and the history of the entire region. Be sure you stop by the Cades Cove Visitors Center to learn about the many Park Ranger-led tours scheduled for the day you plan to be here. Between the knowledgeable and friendly staff in the visitors’ center and your tour guide, you can learn all about the history of Cades Cove, the park, and the surrounding area.

When you are all done for the day, be sure you stop back in at the visitors’ center and pick out a few souvenirs to take home with you. No matter what else you do, be sure you take lots of pictures so you can show the folks back home how beautiful the Peaceful Side of the Smokies truly is!